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Managing Fresh Root Storage

Fresh sweetpotato roots outside the main harvest season fetch a much higher market price than sundried sweetpotato root slices or pieces. However, despite significant efforts to find effective ways of storing fresh sweetpotato roots so that they can be used at home or sold to the market over a longer period of time, there is very little use of these methods in sub-Saharan Africa.


Fresh sweetpotato roots are categorized as perishable because once detached from  the plant, unless they are cut into small pieces and sun-dried, they cannot be stored for long periods of time, unlike grain crops. 


Across the world, there are traditional methods of storing fresh sweetpotato roots. Researchers have used these traditional stores as a basis from which to try and develop improved fresh storage. Uptake of fresh root storage is dependent on the expected root price difference between that at harvest time and that a few months later on.  While theoretically, the storage of fresh roots should enable them to sell at higher rates in to the market, there is evidence that many farmers also store them for their own consumption.